Assessment of Potential Asbestos Exposures from Jet Engine Overhaul Work

Publication Information:

Mlynareka, S.P. and D.R. Van Orden, “Assessment of potential asbestos exposures from jet engine overhaul work”, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, Vol. 63(1), pp. 78-83, 2012. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2012.02.010.

Year: 2012

Asbestos fibers have been used in a wide variety of products and numerous studies have shown that exposures from the use or manipulation of these products can vary widely. Jet engines contained various components (gaskets, clamps, o-rings and insulation) that contained asbestos that potentially could release airborne fibers during routine maintenance or during an engine overhaul. To evaluate the potential exposures to aircraft mechanics, a Pratt & Whitney JT3D jet engine was obtained and overhauled by experienced mechanics using tools and work practices similar to those used since the time this engine was manufactured. This study has demonstrated that the disturbance of asbestos-containing gaskets, o-rings, and other types of asbestos-containing components, while performing overhaul work to a jet engine produces very few airborne fibers, and that virtually none of these aerosolized fibers is asbestos. The overhaul work was observed to be dirty and oily. The exposures to the mechanics and bystanders were several orders of magnitude below OSHA exposure regulations, both current and historic. The data presented underscore the lack of risk to the health of persons conducting this work and to other persons in proximity to it from airborne asbestos.